Simulation of CO2 flow in porous media using Lattice Boltzmann Model

  • Rojas, Luis (PI)
  • Dauyeshova, Bagdagul (PhD student/Master degree holder)
  • Tursynkhan, Margulan (Master student/Bachelor degree holder)
  • Zhumatay, Nursultan (Master student/Bachelor degree holder)
  • Senn, Patrick (Master student/Bachelor degree holder)

Project: Monitored by Research Administration

Project Details

Grant Program

Faculty Development Competitive Research Grant Program 2018-2020

Project Description

This study focuses on CO2 storage by investigating CO2 flow in deep underground porous media, within the framework of the major current issue on carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). CO2 flow in porous media will be modeled using the lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM). The LBM is a class of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method, capable of modeling a wide variety of complex fluid flow problems including single and multiphase flows in complex geometries. The LBM is a discrete computational method based upon the Boltzmann equation. It considers a fundamental volume of fluid to be composed of a collection of particles. Each set of particles contained in these volumes is represented by a particle velocity distribution function for each fluid component at each grid point. During the time-step advance of the simulation, the fluid particles can collide with each other as they move, possibly under applied forces. The rules governing the collisions, such as Bhatnagar-Gross-Krook (BGK) are designed such that the time-averaged motion of the particles is consistent with the Navier-Stokes equation (Chen and Doolen 1998).
LBM is a mesoscopic method which is able to capture microscopic effects and reproduce macroscopic behavior of fluids as a result (Huang et al. 2014). Macroscopic and microscopic methods have their own limitations when applied separately. The former one is usually insensitive to microscopic physics of fluids, while microscopic methods can be time consuming and computationally expensive when dealing with large domains. One of the advantages of mesoscopic methods is the ability to connect these microscopic and macroscopic descriptions of fluid dynamics at reasonable computational effort and physical precision. Another advantage of using LBM is that the method can easily be parallelized so the computational time is dramatically reduced (Derksen 2013).
LBM has been applied to study CO2 flow in underground porous medium structure (i.e. Mahmoudi et al. 2014; Huang et al. 2013; Yamabe et al. 2015) with controversial results. When CO2 is injected into the reservoirs for sequestration, in most cases it is in supercritical phase (approximately, 74 bars and 31 °C), and thereafter, injected CO2 starts displacing resident fluid. This supercritical CO2 (scCO2) and the originally resident fluid in the porous medium together are treated as a two-phase system. Typically, density and kinematic viscosity of scCO2 are approximately 70% and 1/10-1/4 of respective properties of the resident fluid (Chen and Zhang 2010). Despite all its advantages, according to Mahmoudi et al. (2014) and Huang et al. (2013, 2014), LBM faces computational challenges when it is applied to multiphase flows with high density and viscosity ratios. Yamabe et al. (2015) also reported that spurious currents become stronger at the phase interface at low flow velocities. To tackle these issues, different types of multiphase LBM such as color-fluid, the free energy and Shan-Chen models have been used with relative success (Huang et al. 2011b).
This study will thoroughly investigate the LBM ability to handle multiphase multicomponent (specifically CO2-brine system) flows in heterogeneous porous media, using current state-of-the-art multiphase models and envision potential improvements in treating the interface such that the model can better accommodate the specific application.
Effective start/end date3/20/1812/31/20


  • LBM
  • Lattice Boltzmann Model
  • CO2 sequestration


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